As proof, I offer you a slightly modified version of our letter this year ... with pixilated faces, names removed, and a few of the facts sanitized to protect the innocent.
"The main theme of 2014 for us seems to have been traveling. The Husband spent a lot of time on the road for business, with trips all over the US to teach training classes, hold meetings, and visit customer sites in Chicago, California, Atlanta, Maryland, Florida, Ohio, Las Vegas … lots of trips!. In September, he was in Europe for two weeks, visiting Germany, Switzerland, and Ireland. It was his first time in Ireland, and he had some great photos and stories of what he did while he was there. Connie traveled to Heritage Rose conferences in Dallas in May for four days and to England in June for nine days. The trip to England was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see gardens she had only read about and to meet some online rose friends in person.
"In addition to our solo trips, we were able to get away together to two more bucket-list destinations. In August, we traveled to Asheville, NC, for a family wedding. We extended the trip into a long weekend, and brought along some of our favorite traveling companions. The six of us spent two days touring the house and grounds at Biltmore, and went white water rafting.
"In November, we spent five days in New Orleans. Connie had to be there for a Board meeting of the Heritage Rose Foundation, and The Husband’s work schedule allowed time for him to tag along. Even though we were there during a historic cold snap (with freezing temps, rain, and wind), we bundled up and had a great time. We toured three antebellum sugar plantations outside of town and visited private homes and gardens in French Quarter. The food was fantastic, including the best catfish and oysters that either of us have ever eaten anywhere. Of course, we had to eat beignets (twice) at Café du Monde, a NOLA landmark.
"The rest of the family is doing well. Daughter #1 and her husband are close by, and we get to see them and their boys often. Daughter #2 is still in Montana, and one of the best parts of the year was when she came to visit for a week in October. Her trip was a surprise combo-birthday present for both of us. Daughter #3 made all the arrangements -- it was the best present ever! Speaking of Daughter #3, she graduated from the police academy and she is now an official, full-fledged patrol officer. We are so proud of her … even though it sometimes can give us a start to see her police car when it’s parked in front of the house.
"In January, we added another member to the furry family -- an elderly four-pound Chihuahua that we named Winnie. The process went something like this: The Husband was on one of his many trips to California … Connie saw Winnie’s photo and story that a friend shared on Facebook … Connie knew instantly that Winnie belonged in our family … and Connie drove out into a snow storm to bring Winnie home, telling The Husband about it AFTERWARD. We don’t know exactly how old Winnie is (probably at least 12, maybe older), but she fits into our family perfectly! All of our other critters adapted pretty easily to her arrival, though the cats still aren’t sure about this tiny, toothless little creature that growls at them.
"The Husband still works from home, and he spends a lot of his spare time on his oil paintings. Right now, he is putting the finishing touches on a fantastic portrait of Connie and Daniel (one of our former greyhounds). Connie’s time is shared between a never-ending array of house projects and work outside in the garden. Life is quiet … exactly the way we like it!
"We hope that you have a wonderful Christmas, and that the New Year brings you health and happiness."
(and I extend these wishes to each of you, too.)
Merry Christmas, Everyone!!